A mystery letter among the leaves

Walking clears my head. Especially here, on the eastern lip of the Atlantic, the fresh winds gusting in over Galway Bay clear the cobwebs of editing and writing from my mind. When I need a break from work – from books, paragraphs, sentences, words, letters – I walk.

Sometimes, though, the letters follow me. This one gave me a proper surprise, almost glowing in the wet autumn ground:

Photo of about 1 square metre of wet footpath, with a white letter Q stencilled on the ground, surrounded by a dozen or so colourful autumn leaves.

It’s been a weird year, weather-wise. All the seasons have gone weird. Ireland had a summer so dry and baked that the grass died and the trees, stressed, began shedding their coats. Then autumn turned stormy and ransacked them, the usual crackle of sloughed-off leaves underfoot replaced by a sodden mush.

Now that things are vaguely normal again for the time of year, it’s a relief to see some autumn colour survive, and gradually fade as it falls earthward. So I was looking around as I walked, taking in the changes, when I noticed the graffito at my feet.

I can’t decide if the Q needs the leaves more than the leaves need the Q. Aesthetically, I mean. In another context, with more letters, it would be an unexceptional Q, an unadorned stencil in white on rough slate grey. Here, by itself on the footpath, it’s a veritable mystery.


15 Responses to A mystery letter among the leaves

  1. Kathy Brown says:


  2. This world needs more non-threatening mysteries. Love your leaves and Q.

  3. […] morning, after seeing Stan Carey’s post, A mystery letter among the leaves, I just had to share my own glittering mystery letter, spotted last Sunday on the ground at William […]

  4. bipolegen says:

    Bizarre, but in a comfortingly small way. It feels right. The world is as it should be. Leaves and a Q. Just right.

  5. Anne says:

    I just saw a random 8 on Twin Peaks!
    I wouldn’t my have noticed it if weren’t for your Q

  6. Sean Jeating says:

    Now, that leaves me qrious…

  7. And interestingly, it looks like the leaves are q-ing.

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